Smart Transport member UK100 has called on the Government to provide “seamless access” to electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure as part of the UK's green recovery.
“If we want to give people confidence that buying or leasing or hiring an electric car is the right thing to do then the infrastructure needs to be there,” Polly Billington, director at UK 100, said at the recent Virtual Fleet & Mobility Live.
Billington, who represents a network of local government leaders who have pledged to shift to clean energy by 2050, said that it is often “presumed” that local authorities should be the ones to deliver EV infrastructure, and while some are “very keen to do that” it requires a partnership approach with the private sector and the distribution network operator (DNO).
“The key players in all of this are the distribution network operators,” she said. “Transport people are suddenly having to get used to what actually happens on the electricity grid, as we start thinking less about petrol stations and more about where electricity comes from.
“And there are some really interesting challenges around how you transform the grid to be able to be used for EVs.
“There are still some dinosaurs that will say if we all shift to electric vehicles tomorrow then the whole grid will fall over.
“In fact, now Chris Stark from the CCC (Climate Change Committee) has pointed out that EV charging will make it easier to manage the demand on the grid."
Data will help determine the best places to install EV charging points rather the current situation where some charging points are sitting “completely unused” and others have “people fighting over them”.
“There shouldn't be any assumption about what kinds of charging points are installed,” Billington said.
“It's much more about understanding how people will want to use their cars, where they want to store them, where they want to charge them up – rapid charging in some places, overnight in others.
“That's the kind of thing that actually local authorities will be able to help with once they're partnering with distribution network operators and the private sector to understand the data that is available.”
To help ensure the EV charging sector works well for drivers, ahead of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a market study.
- The Virtual Fleet & Mobility Live gives public sector and central Government policymakers the opportunity to understand the transport and travel challenges facing UK business. All of the 24 seminar sessions are now available to watch on-demand until December 18. If you've already registered, all you need to do is log in to get access to the content. If you haven't registered for the event, sign-up here first and you will receive log-in details for the event platform.